A communication management plan can streamline communication and improve efficiency at every level of an organization.
Today’s distributed workforce makes this effort all the more challenging. Employees are working from home, in multiple offices, and in different time zones.
In such a remote work environment, standardizing communication protocols can certainly help, but managers need to go one step further, by adopting a technology-driven communication management plan.
Why do you need a communication management plan?
A communication management plan can offer your organization a wealth of value:
- Since employee productivity depends in part on how well employees work together, that productivity will also depend on how well they communicate
- Organizational performance is, as a result, also highly correlated with employees’ ability to collaborate
- Communication also affects the employee experience, which can impact many other variables, from employer branding to the workplace climate to employee retention
Every communication plan will differ to a certain extent due to each organization having its own unique culture. That being said, all communication strategies should share the same core elements.
Communication plans are built upon a set of structured, standardized processes. In some instances, communication plans will also go into great detail about the processes, steps in communication protocols, communication conventions, and communication tools.
As we will cover in the next section, tools are becoming paramount in today’s digital workplace—especially as we migrate towards a global environment that is more expansive and exceedingly virtual.
How to build a technology-driven communication management plan
And since the workforce will include both remote and onsite workers, it is important to rethink communication management plans for this new office model.
Below, we’ll look at five steps you can follow to create a communication plan for the hybrid workplace.
1. Clarify goals and a strategy
All business initiatives, including communication plans, should have goals, priorities, and strategies.
Without setting goals, it will be impossible to measure the progress and ROI of a project.
In the case of communication management plans, goals can focus on areas such as:
- Improving workplace efficiency
- Enabling remote teams to work together seamlessly
- Boosting employee performance
- Reducing errors
Once goals such as these are set, they can be used to define objectives, metrics, and KPIs.
To measure these, use relevant data collection mechanisms, such as employee surveys, software analytics, one-on-one discussions, and other integrated data sources.
2. Decide on processes for each level of the organization
Organizational communication refers to correspondence that occurs horizontally and vertically within a company. It covers communication at every level of a business, including:
- The organizational level
- The departmental level (including across departments)
- The team level (including across teams)
It also encompasses other aspects of organizational communication such as social communication and relaying of the organizational culture.
All of these affect the workplace and the workforce, so it is important to develop procedures that can be built into every area of the company.
3. Adopt the right set of communication tools
Since technology drives the virtual office, it is crucial to adopt the right tools. Without the proper set of solutions, certain communication processes will simply not be possible.
For example, remote teams cannot collaborate without the right communication tools.
Here are a few examples of tools that can be used to improve communication among remote workers:
It is useful, however, to not only consider the tools needed for day-to-day job tasks, but also those needed during other stages of the employee lifecycle, such as employee onboarding and training.
4. Invite participation from employees
Another important point to note when adopting any new process is that employees will be the ones implementing that process.
If they do not feel a process is effective, they may resist it and stick to other processes that work for them.
For this reason, it is important to listen to employees, proactively solicit feedback, and invite total participation when developing and deploying a communication management plan.
Doing so can minimize pushback, make employees feel heard, and even generate new ideas that can be incorporated into the plan.
5. Monitor and adjust the communication plan as needed
It is important to continually refine new processes as they are implemented.
This is how tracking the metrics that were created earlier will allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.
- Use employee surveys to gauge employee sentiment towards new communication strategies
- Monitor targeted metrics, such as software usage data of newly adopted communication tools
- Continually assess other metrics that track employee engagement, productivity, and performance
Tracking internal communication does several things. On the one hand, it demonstrates the value and ROI that the communication plan generates. At the same time, it also shows how organizational communication contributes to an organization’s overall performance.